Educators Meet Legislators
Committee Chair Mike Sewall speaks to the Oneida County Legislators.
our successful political outreach projects is the Educators Meet Legislators
first stage of Educators Meet Legislators involved members of the
PA attending Oneida
County Board of Legislators (OCBOL) meetings and making informative
presentations during the public open-mic sessions.
second stage is the Legisletter,
a newsletter specially produced for the OCBOL to showcase some of
the many good things that the PA does in the community.
we provide the history and details of each stage of Educators Meet Legislators.
graphic to read
our Legisletter as a pdf file.
Stage 1: Educators Meet Legislators
The original idea for Educators Meet Legislators came from Mike Sewall, Political
Outreach Chair, who has attended many OCBOL meetings as a representative of
the PA. A brainstorming session in February 2002 solidified plans, and invitations
to participate were distributed to our members (see "PA
kicks off Educators Meet Legislators project"). Nearly a dozen PA members
immediately signed up, so we knew that we were onto something. The eagerness
and enthusiasm with which people responded to our invitations says much about
their desire to have their voices heard on the county level.
We agreed that each PA member would speak for a few minutes on their positions
at the college and the innovative projects taking place in their departments
or offices. We kept our focus on the positive things that the faculty and staff
of MVCC bring to our communities. By scheduling a few PA members to speak at
each public open-mic session, we hoped that our county legislators--who have
a significant say in the college's funding--would be better educated about the
myriad ways in which our institution contributes to the betterment of the region.
President Searles sent a formal letter of introduction to the Chair of the
Board of Legislators, the following excerpt of which clarifies our goals:
"The PA is rightfully proud of the many initiatives and accomplishments of our members--the faculty and professional staff of MVCC. Some legislators may not be aware of MVCC's extraordinary range and depth. Others might like to know about the fine educational backgrounds and specialized training of our faculty and staff. Creative writers, award-winning coaches, textbook authors, officers of international professional organizations, widely-respected artists, psychologists, engineers, and economists, among others, are working at MVCC. And we'll help you to get acquainted with these professionals one by one. Many good things happen every semester at MVCC. We're looking forward to sharing some of them with you."
The first presentations were made in May 2002. At that legislative session,
MVCC President Michael Schafer explained the project to the legislators and
introduced PA President Ellis Searles. Ellis addressed the group and then introduced
our first presenters. Well over a dozen PA members in total have addressed the
OCBOL, showcasing the vast expertise, achievements, and accomplishments of our
Seeing how well Educators Meet Legislators was received on the local level,
the PA submitted an entry about this creative political-outreach project for
the Public Relations Program category in the AFT Communications Association
Journalism Competition and won a first-place award (see "Educators
Meet Legislators meets success"). In the judges' commentaries provided
to our local, we were pleased to see that one judge praised us for helping our
own members to speak out, to represent themselves, and to have a say in the
local politics that most directly affect their worklives.
Stage 2: The Legisletter
Knowing that the Oneida County Board of Legislators was now much more familiar
with the people in the PA, President Ellis Gage Searles surveyed them for their
feedback and suggestions for future interactions. The majority response was
"Keep communicating!" and so the Legisletter was born (see
phase of Educators Meet Legislators is Legisletter").
We expanded the Educators Meet Legislators project by creating a special edition
of our newsletter, PAnorama, designed
especially for Oneida County legislators and leaders. The four-page, full-color,
union-made Spring 2004 edition highlights some of the good work that the PA
does in terms of political outreach, community outreach, and student outreach.
View a .pdf copy of this inaugural edition by clicking here: Spring